13.7 Developing Your Team Skills

Learning Objective

  1. Identify guidelines for developing cohesion in your team.

Steps to Creating and Maintaining a Cohesive Team

There are several steps you can take as a manager to help build a cohesive team. For example, you can work to:

  • Align the group with the greater organization. Establish common objectives in which members can get involved.
  • Let members have choices in setting their own goals. Include them in decision making at the organizational level.
  • Define clear roles. Demonstrate how each person’s contribution furthers the group goal—everyone is responsible for a special piece of the puzzle.
  • Situate group members in proximity to one another. This builds familiarity.
  • Give frequent praise, both to individuals and to the group, and encourage them to praise each other. This builds individual self-confidence, reaffirms positive behavior, and creates an overall positive atmosphere.
  • Treat all members with dignity and respect. This demonstrates that there are no favorites and everyone is valued.
  • Celebrate differences. This highlights each individual’s contribution while also making diversity a norm.
  • Establish common rituals. Thursday morning coffee, monthly potlucks—these reaffirm group identity and create shared experiences.

Key Takeaway

There are many things you can do to help build a cohesive team. One key thing to remember is that too much cohesion without strong performance norms can be a problem. Many of the ways to build cohesive groups are also fun, such as celebrating successes and creating rituals.

Exercises

  1. Think of the most cohesive group you have ever been in. What factors made the group so close?
  2. What are some challenges you see to creating a cohesive group?
  3. How does team size affect cohesion?

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